Improving Fitness to Drive: The Case for Hazard Perception Training

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Abstract

On one hand, individuals who are unfit to drive should not be allowed behind the wheel. On the other hand, being unable to drive can have significant negative consequences for some individuals, including an increased mortality risk. One potential solution to this dilemma is to use training interventions to improve fitness-to-drive. The problem is that, in general, post-licensing driver training and education has a disappointing track record in terms of improving road safety. However, one type of intervention that may have the potential to buck this trend is hazard perception training. Hazard perception, which is the driver's ability to anticipate dangerous situations on the road ahead, has been found to predict both crash risk and on-road driving performance, and can account for variance in both of these criteria that other key fitness-to-drive measures cannot. Crucially, there is evidence that hazard perception competence can be improved by brief computer-based interventions, even for driver groups who are more likely to face fitness-to-drive challenges, such as individuals aged over 65 years or adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This article puts the case for potentially using such interventions to help individuals with fitness-to-drive difficulties.

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